Four space tourists will be launching into the edge of the void on Wednesday evening aboard a SpaceX capsule. SpaceX is a space tourism company founded by tech magnate Elon Musk.
The crew is headed by Jared Isaacman, a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, who booked the Crew Dragon capsule last year and picked three other “normal” people to join him on what will be the first-ever private mission to Earth’s orbit, according to The Verge.
The mission is called “Inspiration 4” and is part of a multimillion-dollar fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, as well as an awareness campaign dedicated to showing that the days were space was exclusive only to government officials and the ultra-rich is over.
Isaacman’s crew includes Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor and St. Jude physician assistant, Sian Proctor, a geology professor and former NASA astronaut candidate, and finally Christopher Sembroski, a data engineer at Lockheed Martin.
The crew has been training for about seven months since March. The preparations included centrifuge training to become accustomed to the enormous G-forces of lifting off atop a rocket, as well as microgravity experience about a zero-G flight, and weeks of training at SpaceX headquarters in California so the passengers can become familiar with the Crew Dragon shuttle.
The Inspiration 4 crew is slated to launch Wednesday at 20:02 ET (02:02 CAT) atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The crew will be seated within the Crew Dragon capsule, which nearly a year prior sent a four-person crew of US-government astronauts to the International Space Station and back.
In terms of the Inspiration 4’s mission, the Crew Dragon’s destination is about 80 miles (128,7 KM) higher than the ISS. In orbit, the crew will be able to view Earth through two new windows and a new glass dome build upon the top of the capsule.
After three days the crew will re-enter the atmosphere, depending on the weather around Florida, in the United States. Splash down is planned for the Atlantic ocean, where SpaceX recovery teams will meet up with the capsule and extract the crew.
If all goes as planned, Inspiration 4 will mark the very first fully private mission for SpaceX.